Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday asked BJP’s Kirit Somaiya where is the fund of ₹50 crore that he had collected from the people of Maharashtra to save the INS Vikrant.
Sanjay Raut’s attack comes a day after the Enforcement Directorate provisionally attached the properties of his wife, Varsha Raut and two close aides of the MP, businessmen Pravin Raut, and Swapna Patkar, wife of Sanjay Raut’s close associate Sujit Patkar
“In the 1971 war against Pakistan, the Indian Navy played a key role, including the INS Vikrant. When the situation of the INS Vikrant got bad and it got difficult to maintain, there were campaigns for turning it into a museum. There were campaigns across the country for saving the INS Vikrant. All party leaders from Maharashtra used to come to Delhi and meet the then Defence Minister AK Antony or the Prime Minister. Kirit Somaiya used to be part of the campaign,” Raut said.
He accused that the money was never used and nothing is known about the fund. Raut said that Somaiya used the money for elections and invested it into his son’s construction company.
Raut also shared photos of Somaiya reportedly asking for donations to take INS Vikrant, the Indian Navy ship which was decommissioned and then sent to the scrap yard.
“Somaiya appealed to the people with the help of his volunteers to collect money to ‘Save Vikrant’ by wearing the t-shirts and jerseys and going to Mumbai airport and railway stations. Many people back then in the name of the INS Vikrant donated lakhs and crores of money. Three-four people called me yesterday and said that they had donated ₹5,000 and 10,000 rupees in Navy Nagar, Church gate and Chembur,” he added.
“As per the information, more than ₹50 crore was collected officially. People thought that all this money will go into saving INS Vikrant. Somaiya then said in all the newspapers that they will submit the money to Raj Bhavan’s account by opening a separate independent account. We got the information from Rajya Bhawan that no such amount had been submitted,” Raut said.
The attachment of the properties comes in connection with the Patra Chawl land scam case. Alleging political vendetta, Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said he already informed the Rajya Sabha chairman that he was under pressure for not agreeing to topple the Uddhav Thackeray government.